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Edson Oda’s science-fiction fantasy drama “Nine Days” has been selected to open the 27th edition of the Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference on Oct. 22.

The film stars Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Bill Skarsgård, Benedict Wong, Tony Hale, David Rysdahl, and Arianna Ortiz. Oda received the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for the film following its premiere in January at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. Duke and Beetz will participate in a post-screening Q&A at the Austin festival, which is being held virtually.

Duke portrays a recluse in a house distant from the reality we know. He interviews prospective candidates — personifications of human souls — for the privilege he once had: to be born. Five contenders emerge but he can choose only one. The victor will be rewarded with a coveted opportunity to become a newborn in the real world, while the others will cease to exist. Sony Classics will release “Nine Days” in North America on Jan. 21, 2021.

The festival will close Oct. 29 with the world premiere of WWE Network Documentaries’ “Brothers of Destruction,” which chronicles the legacy of Undertaker and Kane. AFF’s Centerpiece title will be IFC Films’  “Farewell Amor,” following the story of an Angolan immigrant reuniting with his wife and daughter after 17 years apart, and screen on Oct. 25. IFC’s “Stardust,” directed/co-written by Gabriel Range, will screen on closing night.

Previously announced titles include the U.S. premiere of Jonah Malak’s “Dave Not Coming Back,” and Maureen Bharoocha’s  “Golden Arm.”

The festival also will return to the Paramount Theatre on Oct. 24 for two live, socially-distanced film presentations: Will Bakke’s “The Get Together”  and Anne Rapp’s “Horton Foote: The Road to Home.” The venue will have safety guidelines in place, including required masks, touch-less temperature checks before entry, a healthcare professional onsite, and full theatre sanitation before films.

The Writers Conference, which runs the first five days of the festival, will feature over 30 panels on the art, craft and business of screenwriting including conversations with Mara Brock Akil (“Girlfriends”), Gillian Flynn (“Utopia”), Howard Gordon (“Homeland”), Damon Lindelof (“Watchmen”), John Logan (“Penny Dreadful”), Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Old Guard”), and Kevin Willmott (“Da 5 Bloods”).